The voluntary portion of NFL teams’ offseason workouts will soon be a thing of the past as players, coaches and front-office personnel dive into OTAs.
Most teams begin OTAs in the third week of May, while teams with rookie head coaches will start a week earlier.
Every team has a plethora of questions that must be answered before the season begins. With that in mind, we’re diving into 10 of the most significant ones heading into OTAs.
How quickly can Haskins overtake Keenum?
Washington had one of the best quarterbacks in the draft fall right into its lap at No. 15 overall. Dwayne Haskins passed for 4,381 yards and 50 touchdowns last season for Ohio State and will immediately challenge veteran journeyman Case Keenum for the starting job. Head coach Jay Gruden is on the hot seat, however, and could opt for the “safer” choice of starting the season with Keenum under center. Can Haskins blow Gruden away and seize the job?
What will Baltimore’s offense look like?
Joe Flacco is in Denver following an offseason trade, and it’s the Lamar Jackson era in Baltimore now. To that end, the team promoted Greg Roman — a coach who has vast experience with dual-threat passers — to be the offensive coordinator. He is dialing up a brand-new offense this year. Additionally, Baltimore went all-in during the draft to bolster the pool of talent around Jackson. The Ravens landed speedy receiver Marquise Brown in Round 1 and selected running back Justice Hill in Round 4, among other moves. There’s a lot to like, but can Jackson and Co. put it all together?
Can Josh Allen take the next step?
Buffalo Bills general manager Brandon Beane deserves a ton of credit for reshaping the roster and giving second-year quarterback Josh Allen the best chance to succeed. The Bills significantly bolstered their offensive line and receiving corps in free agency. Then they added dynamic running back Devin Singletary out of Florida Atlantic. Now it’s up to Allen to develop as a pocket passer and prove he’s the long-term answer for the Bills.
Will Matt LaFleur energize the Pack?
A former Sean McVay understudy, LaFleur spent one year as the offensive coordinator in Tennessee before making the big jump as head coach of one of the NFL’s most storied franchises. He has huge shoes to fill. Despite a rocky ending, Mike McCarthy won a Super Bowl with the Packers. The big question now is this: Can LaFleur gel with Aaron Rodgers and re-energize the Packers’ offense? If so, then Green Bay will be one of the most dangerous teams in the league.
Will Joe Flacco give Denver a much-needed boost?
John Elway was widely ridiculed for his decision to replace Case Keenum with an aging Joe Flacco — a player many believe is a fading star. Sure, the Denver Broncos drafted Drew Lock, who could eventually become the face of the franchise. But he’s nowhere near ready for that burden. So, it’s up to Flacco to give Denver’s offense the steady leadership and play it has been lacking from the quarterback position. If he can do that, then Denver should get back to the playoffs for the first time in four seasons. If not, then it’s going to be another long season for the Broncos.
Can Houston cobble together a functional O-line?
The Houston Texans entered the NFL offseason with one of the NFL’s worst offensive lines. Deshaun Watson — through little fault of his own — was sacked a league-worst 62 times in 2018. Houston signed former first-round bust Matt Kalil in free agency, then took a significant gamble on Alabama State left tackle Tytus Howard, whom they drafted No. 23 overall. A team with Super Bowl aspirations, the Texans must be able to protect Watson in 2019. Heading into OTAs, we’re not sure they have the players to do it.
Will Carson Wentz be healthy?
The Philadelphia Eagles are all-in on Wentz. They let Nick Foles leave in free agency and don’t have another starting-caliber quarterback on the roster. So, it’s Wentz or bust in 2019. The reason to worry a bit if you’re an Eagles fan is that Wentz is still not fully recovered from the back fracture that cost him five games last season. Philly has said it expects him to be ready for OTAs, but at this point given his injury history, Wentz’s health is a huge storyline heading into this coming season.
Can Jon Gruden turn the Raiders around?
It’s Year 2 of the Jon Gruden era in Oakland. For better or worse, he’s completely transformed the Raiders’ roster. The offense has some significant pieces in place, notably adding All-Pro receiver Antonio Brown, offensive tackle Trent Brown, and running back Josh Jacobs (via the draft). The Raiders also invested heavily into defensive talent in the draft. On paper, Oakland has what appears to be a competitive roster. Whether Gruden still has the magic remains to be seen.
Will Arians fix Jameis Winston?
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have given Winston one more shot to prove he’s worthy of being called the face of the franchise. Off-field problems, along with on-field mistakes, have marred his first four years in the NFL. The former No. 1 overall pick is a lame duck playing out his fifth-year option heading into 2019. The one big saving grace could be that new head coach Bruce Arians has been a veritable quarterback whisperer throughout his career. There is a chance he can get Winston to cut back on his mistakes. If he can’t do it, then nobody can.
Will Josh Rosen overtake Fitzmagic?
The Miami Dolphins pulled off a draft-day trade with Arizona to acquire last year’s No. 10 overall pick, Josh Rosen. It’s an interesting move, because it signals Miami isn’t necessarily trying to tank for Tua Tagovailoa, as it’s been reported for some time. However, rookie head coach Brian Flores has adamantly declared that there will be an open competition between Rosen and veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick heading into the 2019 season. It’s going to be fascinating to see which quarterback emerges with the starting job.